There has been a lot of discussion on the faded business of Bollywood films for the last year and a half. Many big filmmakers, who have been a part of every such discussion, emphasize once and for all that the biggest problem of Bollywood is getting stuck in a formula. Masala films started in the 80s, so everyone started making similar films. When romantic films started in the 90s, everyone made similar films. Exactly the same happened with romantic comedies and other genres as well.
The amazing thing is that in the midst of the discussion of losing the luster by getting stuck in the formula, Bollywood is now seen holding tightly to a new formula – Film Universe. Seeing the way superhero films of Hollywood’s Marvel Cinematic Universe are popular and the vigorous business these films have been, any production house would definitely like to create such a pattern.
Popularity among fans, celebration of coming together of big stars, and constant engagement with the story is a safe math for strong box office collections. And perhaps this is the reason why now big production houses in Bollywood want to create a film universe of their own.
But does it really guarantee the earning and popularity of films? It is a bit difficult to say so. ‘Why?’ Before knowing the answer, know how many film universes have come in Bollywood now:
Last year’s ‘Brahmastra’ can be considered as the first Indian film whose announcement was made inside the official ‘Film Universe’. Karan Johar and Ayan Mukherjee told the concept of Astravars to the public and said that ‘Brahmastra Part 1 – Shiva’ will be the first film of Astravars. The second film in this will be ‘Brahmastra Part 2 – Dev’. On the other hand, after the overwhelming response to Shahrukh’s cameo character, ‘Vanarastra’, the makers are also brainstorming on making his solo film.
Spy Universe – Yash Raj Films
Yash Raj Films first made Salman Khan a spy agent with ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and the film earned almost 199 crores. This tiger avatar of Dabangg Khan crossed 300 crores at the box office in ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’. After this, Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff entered ‘War’, which once again crossed the 300 crore mark at the box office. Now with Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Pathan’, the stories of these agents are going to step into the same universe and there are even bigger expectations.
After ‘Pathan’, ‘Tiger 3’ is also going to come in 2023 itself. Experts are expecting more than 300 crores (at least as of now) from both these films. That is, if all goes well, at the end of 2023, the Spy Universe of Yash Raj Films will become a film universe having collected at least 1500 crores box office collection. But this will happen only when the public will get the story along with Shahrukh-Salman’s films.
Rohit Shetty had made ‘Singham’ and ‘Singham 2’ with Ajay Devgan. But with the arrival of Ajay’s character in Ranveer Singh’s ‘Simmba’ and the hint of Akshay’s arrival, their cop-universe officially started. Akshay got his film ‘Suryavanshi’. Now Rohit has talked about bringing ‘Lady Singham’ in his universe and is also bringing web series ‘Indian Police Force’ in this universe. The script work of ‘Singham 3’ is also said to have started.
Rohit Shetty has made comedy films like ‘Golmaal’ franchise, ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘All the Best’. Rohit also gave the idea of comic-verse by bringing in comic actors who worked regularly with him in Ranveer Singh’s ‘Circus’. He has also talked a lot on this idea in interviews.
Horror Universe of Dinesh Vijan
Producer Dinesh Vijan thought of taking forward the success of ‘Stree’ and planned a big horror comedy universe. In this, the next two films ‘Roohi’ and ‘Bhediya’ have been released. Further announcements of ‘Munjha’ and ‘Stree 2’ have also been made.
The film universe got shocked in the beginning
Now watch the movies of all the Bollywood film universe mentioned above. It is too early to say anything about ‘Brahmastra’ as the second film is yet to come in it. But it is necessary to mention one thing. People liked ‘Brahmastra Part 1’ but many viewers said at various places that the film fell a little behind the high expectations.
In Rohit Shetty’s Cop Universe, ‘Singham 2’ went ahead of ‘Singham’ earning 100 crores and did business of more than 140 crores. Ranveer’s ‘Simba’ did a big bang and earned more than 240 crores, but then Akshay’s ‘Suryavanshi’ reached only 196 crores. One of the reasons for this is that Akshay’s film was released in open theaters immediately after the lockdown and cinema halls were open at half capacity in many places. But in many reviews of the film, you will find that the story of ‘Suryavanshi’ seems a bit pale in comparison to ‘Simmba’ and ‘Singham’.
In the case of comedy, Rohit’s comic-verse has hit a very high speed breaker as soon as the journey begins and ‘Circus’ dies at the box office earning Rs 35 crore. Only Rohit knows better what will happen to this universe in the future. But on the other hand, the universe of Dinesh Vijan is also struggling.
While ‘Stree’ made a grand collection of Rs 129 crores, ‘Roohi’ struggled to earn Rs 30 crores. Although it was also a film released in the era of Corona, but its reviews also say that the film was not fun. The third film is Varun Dhawan’s ‘Bhediya’ which has spent more than a month in theaters and has just reached around 70 crores.
Problem in ‘Bahubali’ and MCU too
After SS Rajamouli’s ‘Bahubali’ franchise became a tremendous hit, Amazon Prime very quickly announced a prequel animation series of these films. In this series named ‘Bahubali – The Lost Legends’, there was a childhood story of Amarendra Bahubali and Bhallal Dev. But the web series that Netflix announced on Sivagami Devi from ‘Bahubali’ universe is still being made. Work on it is going on since 2018. There are reports that once the show was made but the Netflix team did not like the content and now it is being remade.
Not only Bollywood, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which gave the idea of the film universe to many film industries in the world, is also struggling with cold films. Where this universe got one big hit continuously till ‘Avengers: Endgame’, ‘Eternals’ ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ have not been able to do very good business in the last phase.
Talking about India, director Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Loki-Verse has been a big hit in the Tamil industry so far. While ‘Kaithi’ was Lokesh’s first big box office success, with ‘Vikram’ he even crossed the Rs 400 crore mark. It will be a matter of seeing what his films do next.
But the biggest problem in this film-universe system seems to be that the makers are not able to meet the high expectations of the audience. In this setup, you can bring big stars and increase the excitement of the public through callbacks of previous films. But to hold the attention of the public in the theaters for two and a half to three hours, a story is definitely required. At present, the film universe of Bollywood has just started and there is also a chance to be cautious ahead of getting speed breakers in the beginning.